HomeNewsBriefCriminal Groups Target Peru Schools, Killing Director
BRIEF

Criminal Groups Target Peru Schools, Killing Director

EXTORTION / 27 MAY 2015 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A spate of killings at schools in Peru that authorities say were targeted for extortion serve as a stark reminder of how organized crime preys on educational centers throughout the region as a source of both income and new recruits. 

On May 22, the director of a private school in Peru's capital city Lima was shot dead in front of students on the campus grounds, reported AFP. Earlier that week, gunmen had also killed two security guards at a nearby school.  

The motive for the murders has not been confirmed; however, police said local criminal groups were extorting both of the schools where the killings took place, reported The Associated Press. Schools in Lima pay extortion fees of up to $10,000 per month, according to police. 

It is difficult to estimate just how many schools in Peru are subject to extortion rackets, due to the low reporting rate for this crime. A former police general told El Popular that an estimated 87 percent of the school directors who were extorted in 2014 decided not to report the crime due to fear of reprisals.

On May 25, Juan Navarro, the mayor of the district in Lima where the murders occurred, called for the deployment of federal troops in order to protect citizens from extortion gangs, reported The Associated Press. "It is a request on behalf of thousands of parents and children, as well as hundreds of school directors," Navarro said. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Unfortunately, Peru is not the only Latin American country that has seen criminal groups expand their sphere of influence to the classroom. In Honduras, street gangs have been known to recruit children as young as six and rob teachers at gunpoint on their way into school. In Mexico, criminal organizations have reportedly charged teachers, students and school administrators fees in order to allow them to attend school.  

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Extortion

There is also evidence that the number of children and adolescents affiliated with criminal groups may be on the rise in some parts of the region. Guatemalan authorities arrested 36 child assassins during the first quarter of 2014, a six-fold increase from the same period in 2013. Illegal armed groups in countries like Colombia often recruit children because they are seen as a low-cost and highly expendable source of labor.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCA / 11 JUN 2021

In arguably the most polarizing election Peru has seen in its history, voters have selected, by a razor-thin margin, a…

COCA / 2 JUN 2022

Peru’s Amazon, which covers nearly half of the Andean country, is rich in biodiversity and critical to the capture of…

COCA / 11 JUL 2022

Following multiple killings, Indigenous leaders in the Peruvian Amazon are again facing threats of violence after coca eradication operations in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.